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Best or Worst: Banks

1. Customer Satisfaction

2. Account Set-Up Speed

3. Overdraft Fees

4. Customer Authentication

Watchdog ranks Britain’s biggest banks- will yours be best or worst?

A statistician from the Royal Statistical Society analysed the performance of the top 16 banks in the UK, using official data and Watchdog’s own research. The 16 companies used in the calculations are based on the banks with the most active current accounts (more than 150,000 in GB).

Three categories were analysed: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, ACCOUNT SET-UP TIMES, OVERDRAFT FEES and whether or not they had introduced STRONG CUSTOMER AUTHENTICATION (enhanced security measures which the FCA requires all banks to introduce by March 2021).

This research was carried out by Jennifer Rogers, Vice President of the Royal Statistical Society and Director of Statistical Consultancy at Oxford University, using data from Ofcom and from the providers’ own websites.
Using our overall findings from the categories detailed below, Jennifer calculated ranking of the companies, from “Best” (number 1) to “Worst” (number 16). The companies were rated in the following order:

1. Metro Bank
2. First Direct
3. Barclays and Tesco Bank
4. -
5. Bank of Scotland
6. Lloyds Bank
7. Nationwide
8. The Co-operative
9. Yorkshire Bank and Halifax
10. -
11. Clydesdale
12. HSBC
13. NatWest
14. TSB
15. Santander
16. RBS 



We looked at official IPSOS data from the ‘Personal Banking Service Quality’ study requested by the Competition and Markets Authority (Aug 2019). Please see chart below for full data.

See Customer Satisfaction chart on the right

These figures were then combined and ranked where 1 represents the “best” performance and 16 the “worst”.


1. First Direct
2. Metro Bank
3. Barclays
4. Nationwide
5. NatWest
6. Lloyds Bank
7. Bank of Scotland
8. Santander
9. Halifax and HSBC
10. -
11. Yorkshire Bank
12. Clydesdale
13. TSB
14. Tesco Bank and RBS
15. –
16. Co-operative Bank


We looked at official FCA data from the ‘FCA Mandated and Voluntary Information on Current Account Services’ research. Please see the chart below for full data.

See Account Set-Up Speed chart on the right

These figures were then combined and ranked where 1 represents the “best” account setup performance, and 16 the “worst” account setup performance:

1. Tesco Bank
2. Metro Bank
3. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
4. -
5. Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Co-operative Bank and TSB
6. -
7. -
8. -
9. Lloyds Bank and Halifax
10. -
11. NatWest and RBS
12. -
13. HSBC
14. First Direct
15. Santander
16. Nationwide


We looked at how much a customer would be charged for going overdrawn by £250 for 7 days within a current account arranged overdraft, using information from the banks’ websites. Please see the charts below for full data.

See Overdraft Fees chart on the right

These figures were then combined and ranked where 1 represents the “best” value when it comes to overdraft fees, and 16 the “worst”:

1. Metro Bank
2. First Direct
3. Co-operative
4. Tesco Bank and Nationwide
5. -
7. Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Lloyds Bank
8. -
9. -
10. Barclays
11. Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank
12. -
13. TSB
14. NatWest
15. RBS
16. Santander

4. Introduction of Strong Customer Authentication

We looked at how many banks have already introduced Strong Customer Authentication which the FCA requires must happen by March 2021). Please see the chart below for full data.

See Customer Authentication chart on the right

A ranking for this category was then produced:

1. First Direct, HSBC, Nationwide, Santander, Tesco Bank

2. Barclays, TSB, Metrobank, Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, Yorkshire Bank, Co-Operative Bank, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, 
NatWest, RBS

Responses from Banks in bottom half of table (with rank in brackets):

RBS Group re Royal Bank of Scotland (16) and Natwest (13):
“We know we can do more to improve the experience for customers in certain aspects of our service. We’re investing in dedicated teams focussed on making targeted improvements for customers and rolling out continuous changes to make banking easier, such as our software to help reduce queuing times in branches and the introduction of a paperless mortgage process.”

Santander (15)
“We are surprised and disappointed by these results which don’t reflect the results of other independent surveys. We aim to provide our customers with an excellent service that is second to none, so we will review the findings with interest to identify any areas we can improve.”

TSB (14):
“This customer service research covers 2018 where, regrettably, we had issues moving to a new banking platform. This is behind us. Our own research shows customers are experiencing an improved service across all channels. In addition, our current account customers receive the best ongoing interest rate in the market and we have introduced the Fraud Refund Guarantee to ensure all TSB customers are protected if they are an innocent victim of fraud – a UK banking first.”

HSBC (12) did not comment

Clydesdale Bank PLC re Clydesdale Bank (11) and Yorkshire Bank (joint 9th) said:
“We welcome any measures that improve service for customers. We are continually striving to enhance our customer experience by listening to the feedback from our customers and making regular improvements to our proposition and service.”

Lloyds Banking Group re Halifax (9)
“We are committed to giving customers the best possible experience, and focus on the things people tell us we could do better. We are constantly working on ways which make it easier for customers to bank with us and their feedback is crucial so that we can continue to improve.”

Co-Operative Bank (8)
“We are committed to listening to our customers to improve the experience they have when banking with us. We have consistently been recognised for our high quality Current Account service in MoneySavingExpert’s polls and for two years running we have been named Branch Network of the Year at the Moneyfacts Consumer Awards 2018 and 2019. We are proud to have been recently voted Most Trusted Mainstream Bank in the Moneywise awards 2019 and we constantly strive to improve the service we provide to our customers.”